For me at least, Symposium is going to be very interesting this year. The move to composable, the first big public event discussing the reality of XM Cloud and the new Sitecore Search product will all generate a lot of interesting content. Plus, with this being the first in-person event since the whole COVID business, I'm expecting quite a buzz this year. Since the first version of the agenda for the sessions was published last week, I've been doing a bit of thinking about what I want to watch in amongst all the great content. So here are some thoughts on the key breakout sessions I'd like to attend. Other than the one that I'm presenting, of course...
I've picked out a Top 10 here, but there's loads of interesting content in the 100+ sessions in this year's event. I'll be honest - it was pretty hard work editing this down from the nearly-twenty sessions I picked out in my first pass through the agenda...
(Annoyingly, this year's Symposium website doesn't appear to give me a way to link directly to the session descriptions - but it does have search to help you find more details if any of these interest you too)
After many years of working with OMS, DMS or xConnect to drive personalisation in Sitecore, there's a lot for us to learn about the new world of CDP and Personalize. Explaining these changes from the perspective of the "old world" technology sounds like a great way for old dinosaurs like me to get a better grasp of what's new. And as more of the sales opportunities I get involved in talk about Personalize and CDP, this becomes more and more important.
I got to look at a bit of the new "PLAY! Summit" demo when I was investigating the new Demo Portal recently. It brings together a collection bits of Sitecore's tech, so I'm interested to find out more from the team who built it. It's an opportunity to look at how the different Sitecore composable tools can fit together, and see what they can achieve when integrated. And importantly, to get some insight into how Sitecore see these things being connected correctly. And hopefully some inspiration about good ways to demonstrate them too.
I've worked on a couple of container-based projects now, and hence I've had to take a swing at how to set up DevOps for this approach to build and deployment. But it's always interesting to see how others have addressed these issues. I'll be looking to see if there are clever things to do with this tooling that I've not thought about, or better patterns to follow to make my build processes better in future work.
Despite the fanfare around its launch, most of us haven't been able to use XM Cloud yet, or delve into the details of how it's designed to fit in with the rest of our website systems and processes. There's some stuff I think I know here (thanks to the MVP program, and what I've been able to read so far) but I'm pretty sure I have a lot to learn about the best ways to adapt our old XM/XP thinking to the new world of The Cloud. Anything I can learn about how XM is changing to suit these new deployment patterns will be useful in future work and consultancy.
I suspect this won't be a session which teaches me anything new from a technology perspective. But one of the roles I find myself in fairly often is having to explain Sitecore's products and strategy in non-technical ways. Both my customers and my colleagues in the sales/marketing/management sides of UNRVLD need to be able to understand the "what" and "why" of Sitecore's XM Cloud strategy in their own terms. So it's useful listen to how Sitecore themselves talk about their new technology - so I can pick up on where their sales focus is, and the terminology they want to use to describe it.
Experience Edge is one of the bits of Sitecore's cloud-focused tech where I feel I don't know enough right now. I understand the reasons why it exists, and the broad problems its solving. But a critical area I don't think I understand right now is what needs to be different in your thinking when you build with Experience Edge. What it does better than alternative approaches, and what it can't do well. So some detail on how it supports querying of your published content data will help me fill in some of those blanks.
Another area where I think my knowledge is weak right now is how content search and recommendation tech fits into the new composable stack. I know a bit about Discover, but I've only seen it talked about in isolation so far. So finding out how it can fit into the XM Cloud / Personalize space will be interesting for me.
It struck me the other day that I've seen surprisingly little discussion of how our systems management processes need to adjust to the composable world. Suddenly our websites can be made up of many smaller systems, hosted in different places. So the work that support and monitoring processess must need to change to keep up. So I was very pleased to see that this topic is on the agenda, and I can see this talk forming the basis of some interesting discussions with the support team I work with for future sites we manage.
I mentioned I know a little about Discover and it's approach to commerce-focused search and recommendation. But so far "Sitecore Search" (the content-focused product from the Reflektion aquisition) is nothing more than a brand name for me. So I'm looking forward to finding out what it can do, and how it fits into the new composable product range. This should be all-new information for me.